Open main menu

Pella is a city in Marion County, Iowa, United States, with a population of 10,352 at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census. Founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, it is forty miles southeast of Des Moines. Pella is the home of Central College, as well as several manufacturing companies, including Pella Corporation and Vermeer Manufacturing Company.

Pella, Iowa
Molengracht Canal, Downtown Pella
Molengracht Canal, Downtown Pella
"A Touch of Holland"
Location of Pella, Iowa
Location of Pella, Iowa
Pella, Iowa is located in the United States
Pella, Iowa
Pella, Iowa
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 41°24′26″N 92°55′2″W / 41.40722°N 92.91722°W / 41.40722; -92.91722Coordinates: 41°24′26″N 92°55′2″W / 41.40722°N 92.91722°W / 41.40722; -92.91722
CountryUnited States
 • MayorJames Mueller
 • Iowa HouseGuy Vander Linden (R)
 • Iowa SenateKen Rozenboom (R)
 • U.S. CongressDave Loebsack (D)
 • Total8.73 sq mi (22.61 km2)
 • Land8.73 sq mi (22.61 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
886 ft (270 m)
 • Total10,352
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,186/sq mi (457.8/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)641
FIPS code19-62040
GNIS feature ID0460063



In 1847, 800 Dutch immigrants led by Dominee (Minister) Hendrik "Henry" P. Scholte settled the area known as Pella. The name "Pella" is a reference to Pella of the Decapolis, where the Christians of Jerusalem had found refuge during the Roman–Jewish war of 70;[4] the name was selected because the Dominee and the rest were also seeking religious freedom. It was the childhood home of Wyatt Earp, whose father Nicholas Porter Earp had settled on a farm near Pella. His brothers Warren and Morgan were born in Pella.

On July 19, 2018, a destructive EF3 tornado struck the Vermeer manufacturing plant in the city. Due to early warning, only 7 of the thousands of people on-site were injured.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.73 square miles (22.61 km2), all of it land.[1] Since 2013, it is located in Iowa's 2nd congressional district. Before that year, it was part of Iowa's 3rd congressional district.


Source:"American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census[5]

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[2] of 2010, 10,352 people, 3,735 households, and 2,500 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,185.8 inhabitants per square mile (457.8/km2). The 4,086 housing units averaged 468.0 per square mile (180.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.0% White, 0.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanics of any race were 1.7% of the population.

Of the 3,735 households, 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 1.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.1% were not families. About 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.96.

The median age in the city was 33.3 years. About 22.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 18.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.1% were from 25 to 44; 21.8% were from 45 to 64; and 16.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

2000 censusEdit

As of the census[6] of 2000, 9,832 people, 3,497 households, and 2,395 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,437.4 people per square mile (555.0/km²).

The median income for a household in the city was $45,496, and for a family was $56,321. Males had a median income of $40,344 versus $25,833 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,674. About 3.2% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and cultureEdit

Pella's Vermeer Mill.
Franklin Street in Pella and some of the businesses located there: Notable in the background are the Tulip Toren (tall white statue) and Information Windmill located in Pella's Central Park.
Shops on Main Street in Pella illustrating Dutch architecture
Main Street

Pella is home to a number of local events and architectural sites.

The Vermeer Mill is a fully functional 1850s-style windmill, reaching 134 ft (41 m) high. The Vermeer Mill grinds wheat into flour using only wind power and is the tallest working windmill in the United States.

The Pella Opera House, built in 1900, was renovated in 1990 and is a popular entertainment destination, featuring stained-glass windows and ornate tin ceilings. A canal winds through nearby Molengracht Plaza, home to shops, restaurants, a hostelry, a movie theatre, and a full-size working drawbridge. On June 28, 2011, Sarah Palin visited the opera house for the premiere of The Undefeated, a documentary about her role in Alaska politics and rise to national attention.[7]

The annual Tulip Time Festival is a celebration of Pella's Dutch heritage. It features tulip gardens, performances, crafters, music, food, Dutch costumes, and daily parades. The festival is held for three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) during the first weekend in May. A queen and court are selected from the two high schools in the town to represent Pella and advertise the Festival. During the 2010 Festival, a world record was set for the most people dancing in wooden shoes. Over 2,600 people danced for more than six minutes to set the new standard.[8]

Pella Dutch is a Dutch dialect spoken in Pella based on South Guelderish dialect.


In April 2011, Forbes rated Pella as third on its list of "The Best Schools For Your Real Estate Buck." Central College is located in Pella.

Popular literatureEdit

In his 1989 book, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America, travel author Bill Bryson stops in Pella, recounting his childhood visits to the town, and relating different aspects of the town with his usual wry humor. Throughout the book, parts of Pella are referred to as examples.

Parks and recreationEdit

A few miles to the west is Lake Red Rock, Iowa's largest reservoir,[9] a popular destination for biking, hiking, boating, and fishing. The Bos Landen golf club is also in the town.

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Eusebius, History of the Church 3.5.
  5. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. ^ Governor Sarah Palin to attend premiere of the undefeated at Pella Opera House in Pella, Iowa
  8. ^ American Profile magazine. "Tidbits" section. Published 4 January 2011.
  9. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Lake Red Rock
  10. ^ He hopes to alter national anthem
  11. ^ "Kyle Korver". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  12. ^ Henderson, O. Kay (May 18, 2017). "Iowa native now No. 3 at U.S. Department of Justice". Radio Iowa. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "Kory DeHaan". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  14. ^ "Who Is John Hospers?". john Retrieved June 17, 2011.

External linksEdit